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For week ended August 01, 1999 Posted 8 Aug 1999

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Mormon Roadshows Sent Packing

Summarized by Vickie Speek

Mormon Roadshows Sent Packing
Salt Lake Tribune 31Jul99 L2
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune

Many Mormons who have grown up in the LDS church have performed in a roadshow at least once in their lives. People who later grew up to be bankers, lawyers and professors, willingly -- even happily -- participated in that uniquely Mormon summertime ritual: the roadshow.

However, in the past decade, roadshows have fallen prey to dwindling ward budgets, a lagging interest in the theatrical experience, and the predominance of passive entertainment such as TV, movies, and the Internet. In the last decade, the roadshow has become a voluntary and infrequent local event. Few new wardhouses include a stage, and even fewer continue the roadshow tradition itself.

Roadshows, 15-minute skits acted by members of an LDS ward were performed over and over in all the wards in an LDS stake in a single night. Performers traveled between church buildings in a caravan of cars on a tight time schedule. They began as entertainment for weary pioneers and blossomed into a full-blown theatrical tradition in the 1950s and 1960s. At the roadshows' pinnacle, the LDS Church sponsored an all-church competition, bringing regional winners to Salt Lake City for the final competition.

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